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Postpartum depression treatment

Postpartum depression is an illness which can be treated with therapy and medicines.

Medical treatment

Treatment for postpartum depression depends on how severe it is. The health care provider will see the severity of the illness before choosing the treatment.

Milder forms may be treated with psychological therapy. More severe forms may require medication. A combination is sometimes helpful.


Drugs such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), or venlafaxine (Effexor) may be given for as long as a year (possibly longer). Estrogen sometimes helps with postpartum depression. Some women also need thyroid treatment. If you are breastfeeding, medicine you take can be passed to your baby. Some antidepressants can be used safely with little risk to your baby.

Other therapy

For milder cases psychotherapy alone may be effective. Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is an alternative to. IPT assists patients with social adjustments. It usually consists of 12 one-hour long sessions with a therapist. IPT has been shown to improve measures of depression in some women. Teaching mothers skills such as controlling the baby's crying often reduces depressive symptoms during the first 2-4 months after delivery.

Self-care at home

  • Rest when your baby sleeps.
  • Let others know how you are feeling.
  • Allow yourself to have negative feelings.
  • Do not expect too much from yourself, we are not perfect.
  • Enjoy and have fun.
  • Avoid overdoing anything, like household chores.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Eat well and don't skip meals.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Go outside and have a walk.
  • Stay on all medications you have been instructed to take.
  • Don't feel guilty or blame yourself, you had already done your best.
  • Enjoy life.
  • Don't compare yourself to others.
  • Get support from friends and family members.
  • Ask for help in caring for the baby.
  • Talk to experienced mothers. Their experiences are always assuring.